Happy belated Easter…

Well, first things first, I am officially registered for the pie contest. So…Orlando or bust.

This wasn’t really a traditionally pie-heavy weekend. I think next weekend I will crank out a few apple pies just to make sure I’m on top of my game (and to fulfill my quota for the baby shower) and then I’ve sort of done all I can to prepare for this wild and crazy adventure…

Sort of a curious situation at work today…we have a new employee…which is nice…but it turns out that she’s from Alaska and she bakes pies…so, you know, I’m feeling a bit…dispensable. But, then again, that’s sort of how Pants and I became friends – she declared herself my baking nemesis…so no more worrying about that for now.

I had numerous baking projects to keep me out of trouble this Easter Sunday. The first were those muffins I mentioned. They’re not exactly light and fluffy…but they’re probably really good for you. The recipe called for light brown sugar, but I only had dark (does it really make a difference? I’ve used them interchangeably for awhile…)…and I actually let the butter melt instead of merely softening it, so that might have screwed up the texture, too? I don’t think I have ever purchased oat bran before and I was a little scared of the “hot cereal” label on the box, but there was a recipe for bran muffins on the back, so I assumed I was safe (I was tempted to get wheat germ initially…I have no idea what that would have done to these muffins…).

I was talking to my mother about Easter-y stuff and she mentioned making lamb with mint – a Rachael Ray concoction. She also talked about her new found respect for dill. The only time I’ve ever really used dill was when I tried out a recipe in the Culinarytherapy book from my aunt and made this food facial that was supposed to really boost your spirits and then doubled as a dip when you added cumin, salt and dill to the remnants (presumably not to the goop you put on your face…). But, it turned out a little watery and so most of my cucumber goop turned into dip.

My second baking project this weekend was a cobbler – a super-easy dessert. I was excited to find a new use for my pastry blender – blending the flour, butter and sugar that went on top of the peaches…and I mildly freaked out because I was using frozen peaches and was worried that I either had way too many (or not nearly enough) for the cornstarch, lemon and sugar that was supposed to be tossed with them. The recipe also swears that the dough you drop on top of the fruit will spread during baking, but I’m always somewhat dubious and tempted to double the recipe, just in case…

…which leads me to my third Easter weekend baking project: Peeps pie. (I doubled the crust for this one.) A little background: I have an aunt who loves Peeps. They are unequivocally her favorite candy. She puts them in the freezer – she likes them a bit stale – and she calls herself a Peeps “purist” – meaning she will only eat yellow chicks. So…last year, my mother heard a story on NPR about Peeps pie and immediately thought of my aunt. I tried the pie on for size last year and thought it was a LOT of fun, so I’ve decided to sort of make it my own little Easter tradition. I absolutely LOVE the fake grass – there’s something about the coconut and food coloring that quite literally makes my heart dance and sing.

But, as per usual, there were some bumps in the road: I bought three packages of Peeps – yellow, blue and pink – whereas I should have purchased two packages of yellow as the pie innards are basically just melted down Peeps…and any other color would be off-putting, wouldn’t it? But I needed 30 Peeps total, so I had to throw in some blue and pink ones. For the record, three rows of yellow, two rows of pink, and one row of blue Peeps yields a pretty blase tan color that turns almost completely white when you add whipped cream. It was pretty watery – so I was worried – but then I chilled it and all was well. You’re also supposed to cut baker’s chocolate into chunks and then freeze it, but I was lazy so it was more like shaved chocolate that then melted in the goop. I do sort of fear that this pie is more for decor…and that I should have a real humdinger of a pie to show the new girl what I can really do…but, alas, that was not the hand that I was dealt.

Looking on the bright side, though, the added bonus of grass is that it prevents a custard pie from getting smushed during transport on the Subway.

I’m afraid that’s all I have time for tonight…but you’ll certainly hear from me again before the contest next week!

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